Monday, July 28, 2014

Cottage Yellow in the Summer

Good morning everyone. Today's transformation has me thinking of summer days, summer nights and cottage life. This dresser just makes me see quilts, I'm not sure why. Like it belongs in a room with the white curtains billowing in the breeze and the lakeside loons cooing? in the distance.

I picked up this dresser on my lunch one day and saw that it was a solid oak piece with a hideous re-stain job and old fashioned brass handles.

I stripped the top and applied my favourite wood "helper" #howardsfeedandwax.

The plan for the body of the piece was to paint it with Miss Mustard Seeds Linen milk paint. I got 3 coats in and did the whole shellac nonesense and ugh. It looked like piss. No other way to put it. I have had mixed luck with the light colours of milk paint. Every time I get an oak piece to paint I always want to do milk paint. I have never had real issues with the dark colours but the learning process is quite constant with milk paint for all you newbies out there. Don't get discouraged. 
So my Plan B for this piece became mixing a custom yellow out of #generalfinishesmilkpaint
I used a combination of Somerset Gold, Linen and Antique White until I got the perfect buttercream colour I was after.

When I went over the white paint with the yellow I avoided the areas around the key holes and some of the other areas where light chipping and patina was coming up. It gave the piece the age of multiple coats of paint and then, adding some antique wax around these areas gave it more age.

you can see what i mean by the patina around the key hole and the look of the layered paint

i replaced the hardware with these natural steel pulls from #leevalleytools. they are uncoated so will age naturally and show rust spots. i love that but, if the new owner wants to keep them in this state they could be easily coated in a clear lacquer.


Here's to many more summer days with the breeze blowing in.

Were you seeing colourful quilts going in the dresser as well?

Have a good day,


a stroll thru life 
elizabeth & co 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Going back in magazine time and What's with the animals?

Good morning blog friends.
I have to work today. Ugh. Shouldn't there be a rule about having Friday's off in the summer and everyone could be super happy. Like a super happy worldwide Friday convention. Here's wishin'!

I am today answering one of, not the most but, one of the most asked questions I receive in emails and comments on my blog is  "What is with all the animal photos?"  "Wouldn't your space look lovely with some old windows or something instead of the tigers? Just a suggestion!" Now this post is not soley about the animal photos in our home but about what led me to the concept for this post. 

Every once in awhile I get bored of the computer, Pinterest (I know, horrors) and go hunting through my old magazines. There are only a few that I have kept every issue and my Canadian House and Home magazines are one of them. I have every issue for the last 10 years and a few sporadic ones from prior years when I was a teen.

I like to picture stare at my magazines the first round through and then go back and read all the columns and stories in the sections that interest me.
I was reading an old editor's column (August 2010 if you're interested) and her words really struck a chord with me and gave me the idea for this post.

Suzanne Dimma describes the journey she has taken to designing her space, clients spaces and finally amalgamating a space with her now husband. Learning to deal with the incredible amount of options and inspirations and knowing how to sort them for your unique space. 
The keys to Great Style as written by Suzanne Dimma
Authentic: It's okay to find inspiration in another person's work, but you have to make it your own somehow.
Unique: The most memorable spaces tell us something about the occupants
Affordable: Decorating a home shouldn't cost more than you can handle. 
Effortless: Style should fit with the way you live. Don't turn your home into a mini Versailles if you have kids, a hockey playing spouse and a lab to boot.
Confident: Above all, be bold in knowing your taste. If you choose things you love, you'll find a way to make them work together.

I think these concepts can be applied to all areas of life including the home but for this purpose we will deal with just the home. We hear it mentioned all the time that people don't understand how bloggers live in their spaces as everything looks so perfect. I always wonder if the people throwing those stones would read the blogs they make these comments to. If there were slippers scattered everywhere, dishes on the counter, laundry on the floor and toilet paper rolls a certain gray fuzzy cat digs out of the garbage and leaves all over the house like mouse trophies in the photos. Some bloggers have even written books/blogs dedicated to everything being beautiful doesn't need to be perfect.
Suzanne's words could be used to remember that we all live in our own ways with different budgets, tastes and styles.

This leads me to answer the question from above.
Trevor and I purchased our first piece by then new artist Edward Spera in 2002. It was a paper print cheetah limited edition and we carefully selected the mats and frame and were so proud of our joint purchase. It hung in my bedroom at my parents house and we would always visit his booths at fairs and go to his gallery showings at a local winery.
We got to know him over the years and when we bought our first home we saved up to purchase our first tiger "Mischief" on canvas. We had a heavily influenced African art home and that tiger sat right above our fireplace in the center of our small living room.
It was the beginning of our art collecting and Ed has since grown to be a large name in the art world locally and worldwide.


Over the years we have collected the pieces we fell in love with and placed them with pride in our home.
They aren't just random items we have placed in our home and they make this space ours. Sure sometimes, especially in the summer when everything is light and white I get the urge to trade out the tigers and replace them with windows and shutters. However, I then remember the reason that I want to do the change isn't really for me, not really. It is because at the bottom of it, it is a blog thing. No tigers would mean better more common photos. More views, more followers, more pins but less me and us.

I started this blog as a means to document our home and some of our journeys. I didn't set out to be the biggest blog and the most sponsored. Although being a stay at home blogger would be amazing, we don't want to live in a magazine. I'm sure many of you already think we do lol, but this is our home that we have picked, thrifted and purchased items to live around. 90% of the items in our home have a story behind them. We can tag team tell the tales about where we found items, how we installed them and the weird/cool people we have met along the way.
I very much realize that the African artifacts and animal paintings are different and not the norm but it is part of why I love them and if you knew us you'd know instantly we like to be a bit different.

So although not for everyone and I understand that, I mean to remain with the Authentic, Confident and Unique steps that make up the points of great style.

So now you know, and i am sure I will be asked many more times but now I can refer people to this post and hopefully it will remind even just one person that you need to love the place you call home or it is just a house with someone else's stuff and style.

Shop listing also happening more often now, not just Thursday. See what got listed yesterday.

Have a great weekend,


 a stroll thru life 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Olde Town Gardens and The Niagara Botanical Gardens

This past weekend Trevor and I had a family reunion in Niagara Falls but as always were trying to cram a few more things into our day and one of them was shopping for my mom's birthday present. As I have mentioned here before my mother is an avid gardener and is where I got most of my gardening knowledge. We both casually hunt for new plants in gardening magazines and on Pinterest (check out my gardening board here)

We both came across a hosta named "Victory" that was showing huge leaves and medium quick growth. While we do have pretty good garden centers in our area we also have a great hosta source. Many locals may not even know about him which is why I am including him in this post. I knew if I was going to find a new variety this would be the place to go

Olde Town Gardens is found in Niagara on the Lake on Lakeshore Rd at Townline. It is tucked in behind the gentleman's home and boasts a HUGE selection of hostas to choose from. There are so many varieties it is imposible to keep track. He has them setup in a meandering path and the setting is idyllic.

all of the plants are priced and tagged ranging from the rare to not so rare. there is a 5 dollar hosta aisle for someone looking to just fill space and there are the 25 dollar beauties that can't be found at the garden center.


there is also a selection of ferns and other perennials to choose from.

this hosta had lovely ruffled leaves and such a vibrant green colour. it is next on my list. it is "abba dabba do"

do remember if you go there that he is cash or cheque only so plan accordingly.

Next up was our walk through the Niagara Botanical Gardens in the rain. I love walking through the carefully selected plants and winding paths and reading the tags that show what each item is. Trevor played umbrella holder so I could man the camera and take some photos for you.

we have a dawn redwood in our backyard that is growing wonderfully. i can't wait until it looks like this.

the potager



I hope you enjoyed wandering around the gardens with me. If you are ever in my neck of the woods and are an avid garden lover, they are places worth checking out and are only 10 minutes apart from one another. The gardens can be quite busy this time of the year but if you go on a rainy day, you might just discover some peacful magic with your puddle jumping.

Have a great day,


Monday, July 21, 2014

A rustic black desk

Another week another day, a furniture makeover to share today.
My absolute favourite black paint #generalfinishes lamp black, makes another appearance today.
I use a bright location to photograph my pieces and always notice it sometimes makes the black finishes appear swirly but this paint is BLACK! and I used furniture wax instead of poly this time. It looks like Pottery Barn furniture. I love love it and Trevor just wants to paint everything black every time I use this paint. I keep walking back into the garage to look at it because it looks so nice now.

This desk used to be my grandfathers and is going to now be my sister-in-laws vanity. It was previously a tired maple finish with wood frill pieces attached to the top. I replaced the hardware with bone knobs and love the combination. 

i went with a lab, library styling on this piece and the glasses resting on the book actually belonged to my grandfather as well.


Have a great day everyone,


miss mustard seed 
thoughts from alice 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Summer Sunflowers and a new table

While I was doing my groceries on Monday there was a huge bucket of sunflowers sitting on the floor. I was smiling just looking at them. Our crop of sunflowers isn't ready just yet so I decided to just bring some of that happiness in the bucket home with me and share them with you.

Smiles all around.

The first few photos also show our new very old coffee table. I found it on Kijiji and went/ raced after work to go pick it up one night because it was so dirt cheap it wasn't going to last.
I wanted to go the next night because I didn't finish work until 7:30 and didn't have a helping hand until the next night. I hate not being prepared to pick something up but, the lady brow-beat me into going that night and then when I got there wouldn't help me get it in my car. Grrrr, luckily there was a guy loading up other furniture there I actually recognized from the auctions I frequent. Nice man to the rescue.

I brought the table home and immediately got to stripping the finish off of the solid oak table. It is the same size as our previous table but feels a bit more rustic and less exotic than our other table.

There is also no glass on it so no more cleaning it. I don't normally mind glass tables but the direction of sunlight right by our windows showed every spot on that table.

this amazing jar i purchased from cat of sunday brocante and it has lovely french writing on it and looks perfect with the sunflowers

the french apothecary bottle is also from cat. in my travels recently i found this ironstone toothbrush holder. it is like a little cup with no handle. instead of a toothbrush, how about a sunflower

happiness in the kitchen as well.

cute quail ironstone pitcher. i paid 5.00 for this one and 1 week later saw a blue version for 65.00. yikes!

Have a great weekend all.

We'll be family reunion-ing and birthday-ing this weekend.

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